Reds, free-agent reliever Pedro Strop agree on 1-year contract: report

Strop is the second former Cub acquired by the Reds this week. They previously signed outfielder Nick Castellanos.

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Former Cubs reliever Pedro Strop has agreed to a one-year contract with the Reds.

Former Cubs reliever Pedro Strop has agreed to a one-year contract with the Reds.

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Reds addressed their lineup when they signed Mike Moustakas, Shogo Akiyama and Nick Castellanos this winter. They strengthened the rotation when they added Wade Miley.

Now, it’s the bullpen’s turn.

Veteran right-handed reliever Pedro Strop agreed to a one-year contract with the Reds on Thursday, according to a source, becoming their fifth big league free-agent signing of the offseason. Strop will make $1.825 million next season, according to the Dominican-based media outlet Deportivo Z 101, with a chance to make an additional $1.675 million through incentives. The Reds haven’t confirmed the signing, which is pending a physical. 

Strop, 34, spent the past seven seasons with the Cubs. He had a career-high 4.97 ERA in 50 appearances last year, securing 10 saves. He struck out 49 and walked 20 in 41⅔ innings. It was his fewest innings pitched in a season since 2011 and the first time his ERA was above 3.00 since 2013.

The Reds are clearly hoping that whatever plagued him last year can be fixed. He was placed on the injured list twice (hamstring strain and neck tightness), and the velocity on his fastball was down. In his seven years with the Cubs, he combined for a 2.90 ERA in 411 relief outings.

Strop will join Raisel Iglesias, Michael Lorenzen, Amir Garrett and Robert Stephenson as the top late-inning options in the Reds’ bullpen. Iglesias is expected to return to his role as closer. The Reds ranked seventh in the National League during the 2019 season with a 4.28 bullpen ERA.

The Reds had a 24-33 record in one-run games last year, stressing the importance of the bullpen. They signed right-handers Tyler Thornburg, Nate Jones and David Carpenter, along with lefty Jesse Biddle, to minor league deals with invitations to spring training.

Strop, known for wearing a crooked cap on the mound, was the second-longest-tenured Cubs player behind Anthony Rizzo. He’s made at least 50 relief appearances in each of the past eight seasons. He pitched well in the postseason, owning a 1.86 ERA in 22 outings. In the playoffs, he’s allowed nine hits and four runs in 19 ⅓ innings. He helped the Cubs to a World Series title in 2016.

A groundball pitcher, Strop surrendered a career-high six home runs last season. He posted a career 2.64 ERA in 44 ⅓ innings against the Reds, which includes a 3.18 lifetime ERA at Great American Ball Park.

Strop was at the center of a benches-clearing incident with the Reds last year when he hit Yasiel Puig with a 3-0 pitch on July 29. Puig took a few steps toward the mound and tossed his bat to the ground while being restrained by Cubs catcher Willson Contreras. Strop called Puig “stupid” afterward.

The Reds are the most improved team in the National League Central, committing more money to free agents than any NL team except the Washington Nationals. Most of their moves have taken away from divisional rivals. Moustakas spent last season with the Milwaukee Brewers. Castellanos and Strop were with the Cubs.


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